Connection – aka What Girls Do

As I raked leaves this afternoon, I came upon some pinks, purples and blues amidst the yellows, oranges and browns. I was reminded of sweet little flower ‘deposits’ that I had noticed strewn around the church property a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure who had done this pretty work, but I figured it must’ve been my son and/or others of the regular church boys…. although it seemed kind of odd that they would do that. I later remembered that there had been a kids’ tennis camp on the property a few days prior, which had included a number of girls . ‘Ah, yes, that’s it!’ I felt sure it was they who had adorned the lawn so.

I think it’s fair to say that girls – female humans – are so much more into prettiness and visual pleasure than are their male counterparts. From a young age, we dress up our dolls, we decorate our bedrooms, we prettify ourselves and our children – and why? I reckon it’s because we want to please others – not in a submissive kind of way, but in a way that brings joy to others. Why? Because we want to connect with them. The older I get, the more life I live, the more I recognise and realise that, for women, it all* comes down to this: connecting with others.

An educator friend of mine recently shared on Facebook a study she’d read about, postulating that ‘under conditions of stress, the desire to affiliate with others is substantially more marked among females than among males’ – and that instead of the well-known ‘fight-or-flight’ theory, females usually react by ‘tending and befriending’. I love that secular science is observing this tendency, too!

Emanuel Swedenborg certainly observed this trait among women in his experiences in the other world. He wrote about it in Conjugial Love:

‘…Love cannot help but love and unite itself in order to be loved in return, this being the very essence and life of love. And women are born forms of love, while men – with whom they unite themselves in order to be loved in return – are receivers. Moreover, love is continually operative. It is like heat, flames and fire, which die if they are prevented from operating.’ (160)

Swedenborg refers to this female desire to conjoin as primarily with men, but I would take it a step further and say that women want to conjoin with everyone, men and women alike (but with men only, when it comes to marriage and conjugial love).

It’s fun to notice the ways in which this tendency plays out, even amongst the younger of our fairer sex. It must be astounding to watch us all in action, knowing and understanding the big picture, from the Lord’s point of view…

*That was a vast generalisation, I know. There’s much more to us than just connecting with others! -And our desire to connect with others varies by day, and by person: some of us are more driven by connection than others. Overall, I think we women are generally pulled in that direction.

About Jenn Beiswenger

I’m generally a pretty content person, always growing and loving the journey most of the time. My passion was babies for so long, now I’m recalibrating to figure out what else I want to do with my life. I enjoy preparing healthy food for my family, creating Zentangle-inspired artwork, traveling, learning about the Lord’s amazing kingdom, connecting with & helping others. My husband, 10-year-old son and I live in Sydney, Australia, where we happily serve the Hurstville New Church congregation. I’m really grateful for the modern technology which helps me stay connected with family & friends overseas!

8 thoughts on “Connection – aka What Girls Do

  1. My husband recently recognized that women are connection-focused. He has been involved in some women-orchestrated support groups (not that kind) that he found unsatisfying but wasn’t sure why. Then it clicked: women like to connect for connection’s sake. Men just don’t have that desire the same way. So a group where the point is strait connection is not terribly attractive to him. He would need the group to produce something or teach him something new etc for it to feel satisfying.

    But I, introverted as I am, would love to sit and JUST connect with a handful of likeminded people. I suppose that stereotical saying is quite true ( which I will now butcher): women bond by talking, men bond by doing.

    1. That’s so interesting that Derrick recently noticed this, too! -And felt consciously unfulfilled in their presence. I hope he finds something to ‘take away’ from that group. 🙂 -And P.S., I’d love to sit and just connect with you! Perhaps over the interweb, hopefully someday in person….

  2. I like the idea that girls’ and women’s love of beauty and adornment serves their drive to connect. I feel protective of that quality that I see in my little girl’s wish to wear pretty dresses and furnish fairy houses. It can get twisted so easily: women can be tricked into separating care for appearance from the use of connecting with others, or they feel they ought to root out the apparently weak, “girly” tendency because it doesn’t break any glass ceilings.

    1. (It fascinates me how early in life little girls want to beautify and adorn…!) I love that you feel protective of this quality in your daughter; good on ya, I say. And until we see a *use* in caring for appearances, it’s easy to lose sight of its importance. (And, I guess we do need to remember its use, too, and not care about appearances simply for the sake of appearances…!) Thanks, Taryn.

  3. Wow. That image from CL about flames dying if they are prevented from operating. Just…wonderful picture.

    Jenn, I never thought about beautifying, decorating, adorning, as a way of drawing people together…connecting them (in mutual enjoyment, etc). But that makes sense!
    I have a wonderful mentor who used to describe her approach to dressing each day as ‘a visual gift to those around us’.
    I’m enjoying savouring this new thought of the connective nature of adorning life.

    1. …As time passes and I receive more comments on this connection, I start to wonder whether I’m blaspheming?! I mean, where did I get that idea from? –And then I decide that I must’ve been inspired from Above, ’cause I don’t think I could’ve come up with this on my own. 😉 I like your mentor’s approach; and it feels like this beautifying + connection is right up your alley, Annina!

  4. The image of a bride with her bridesmaids vs. a groom with his groomsmen comes to mind. The day of the wedding is a full day event for the women- and I don’t think we would have it any other way! Part of the joy is connecting as we prepare physically and mentally for the marriage! Men innately do not need the same type of connection as they prepare for the special day. Thanks for the article Jenn!

    1. Ain’t that the truth! That feels like a great example of this trait in women – and the converse trait (or maybe just ‘lack of this trait’) in men. Thanks for that reflection, Catherine! 🙂

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